On Christmas Eve, 1971, Juliana Koepke, a seventeen-year-old German girl, and her mother left Lima by plane. They were going to Pucallpa, another town in Peru.

They wanted to spend Christmas with Juliana’s father, who was the manager of a bank in Pucallpa. Forty-five minutes later there was a terrible storm and the plane hit a mountain and crashed.

Juliana fell 3,000 metres, strapped in her seat. She did not die when the seat hit the ground, but she was unconscious all night. The next morning Juliana looked for pieces of the plane, and called for her mother. Nobody answered, and she only found a small plastic bag of sweets.

Juliana’s left arm was broken, one knee was badly hurt and she had deep cuts on her legs and arms. She had no shoes and she was wearing only a dress, which was badly torn. But she decided to try to get out of the jungle*.

She knew that she would die if she stayed there. She started to walk. She did not have anything to eat for two days, so she felt very weak. She heard helicopters, but could not see them above the trees, and of course they could not see her.

After four days she came to a river. She walked and swam down the river for another five days. At last she came to a small village house. Nobody was there, but that afternoon, four farmers arrived. They took her to a doctor in the next village. Juliana learned afterwards that there were three other people who were not killed in the accident. But she was the only one who got out of the jungle. It took her ten days.



‘jungle: a forest in a hot country with lots of trees and plants growing together

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